Stillwater anglers look forward to ice off each spring, and if "winter" continues like it has so far this year the spring thaw could be early. Warming lake water and active insects get spring time Trout feeding heavily and smart anglers take advantage of the opportunity. First on the scene are chronomids. Chronomids make up a large portion of the diet of most lake dwelling Trout. Chrono hatches can be intense, and the shear mass of bugs, although small, are available in such volume that they are very important to the Trout and angler.
The keys to success with chronomids are 1) finding the depth at which the Trout are feeding, and 2) using the best imitation. Often the best technique is to fish chrono's below a strike indicator but they can also be slowly stripped or fished below a dry.
Below are some pics of a dense chronomid hatch on an Idaho stillwater.
Whether you are a stillwater veteran or a river angler considering a change of pace, ice out can be a great time to wet a line.
Also, a fun fact (pet peeve) is a common question many anglers ask during ice out. It usually goes something like this:
Is _______ lake un-thawed yet?
Consider the meaning of the words "thaw" vs. "un-thaw". To "thaw" is to change from a solid to a liquid or melt. To "un-thaw" would be to freeze or turn from a liquid to a solid. I often have a little fun with those asking if their favorite lake is "un-thawed" ;)